Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II



Federated church and fraternally is a Modern Woodman of America. With the exception of a brief period his residence in this city covers more than a half century and therefore few men have more intimate knowledge of its history or of events which have left their impress upon its annals.


  Fred Higler Ripp, postmaster at Tarnov and agent for the Singer sewing machines in Platte county, was born in Joliet township, this county, October 20, 1884, a son of Ferdinand and Catharine (Reisner) Ripp, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father was born on the Rhine and the mother in Luxemburg. They came to America with their respective parents, settling near Reisling, Wisconsin. The father, who was a carpenter by trade, removed to Platte county, Nebraska, in 1868, establishing his home in Joliet township, where he purchased land and engaged in farming until 1885. He then removed to Holt county, where he preempted land, taking up his abode thereon, he and his wife making that place their home until 1909, when they retired from active farm life and removed to Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, where they are now living. Mr. and Mrs. Ripp became the parents of twelve children: Anna, who is a resident of Platte Center; Henry, living in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska; Kate, who makes her home in Olympia, Washington; Mattie, who resides in Woodlawn, Oregon; Agnes, of Niobrara, Nebraska; William, living in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska; John, who is a resident of Spencer, this state; Lizzie, who makes her home in McMinnville, Oregon; Jacob, living in Rosewater, Nebraska; Gertrude, of Cedar Rapids, Nebraska; Fred Higler, of this review; and Theodore, who died at the age of fourteen months.

  Fred H. Ripp, after attending the district schools, spent three years as a highschool pupil in Stuart, Nebraska, after which he worked upon the home farm and at carpenter work in connection with his father until he attained his majority. He then became a rural mail carrier on Route No. 1 out of Platte Center, having charge of that route for three years. In 1907 he married and removed to Columbus, where he followed the carpenter's trade until the fall of 1908, when he removed to Cornlea and by President Taft was appointed postmaster, filling the position for two years. On the expiration of that period he returned to Columbus, where he followed the carpenter's trade. In 1912 he secured the agency for the Singer sewing machine, which he holds today and has built up a good business along that line in Platte county. In May, 1915, he removed to Tarnov and was appointed postmaster by President Wilson, which position he is now acceptably filling. He is also agent for the Fremont Creamery & Butter Company, while his wife is local manager and operator for the Monroe Independent Telephone Company exchange at Tarnov.

  On the 26th of June, 1907, Mr.. Ripp was united in marriage to Miss Josie L. Clother, whose birth occurred in Columbus, July 2, 1887, her parents being M. E. and Mary (Burke) Clother. The father, a native of Saratoga county, New York, and an agriculturist by occupation, is now living on his farm at Platte Center. The mother passed away in 1903. Mr. and Mrs. Clother were the parents of five children, as follows: Frank, a resident of Platte Center; Charles and John,



both of whom are deceased; Mrs. Josie L. Ripp; and Edward, a farmer of Burrows township. Mr. and Mrs. Ripp now have four children, namely: Inez, who was born November 28, 1908; Malon, whose birth occurred in January, 1910; Marvin, whose natal year was 1912; and Vern, born October 5, 1914. They lost their first born, Ethleen, who died at the age of fourteen months.

  The parents hold membership in St. Michael's Catholic church and Mr. Ripp is also a member of the Knights of Columbus. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and it speaks well for him that his fellow townsmen desired him to serve in the position of postmaster, to which he was appointed under democratic administration.


  Isaac Brock, engaged in the livery business in Columbus, is also active in public affairs of the city, serving at the present time as a member of the council. He was born August 16, 1875, on a farm in Osage county, Missouri, his parents being Henry and Hannah (Granneman) Brock. The father was born in Switzerland about 1843 and in his boyhood came to America, after which he worked in the mines of Pennsylvania for a few years, removing thence to Osage county, Missouri, where he purchased and cultivated a farm that had formerly been the property of his father-in-law. Before becoming possessor of this land. however, he worked at the butchering business, which he owned and conducted in partnership with a brother. He took an active interest in church work as a member of the Methodist Episcopal denomination and his political allegiance was given to the republican party. His death resulted from typhoid fever in the year 1878. It was in 1872 that he wedded Hannah Granneman, a native of Osage county, Missouri, born July 3, 1853. Since his demise she has become the wife of August Nuetzman and is now living in Columbus.

  Isaac Brock had very meager educational advantages, but improved every opportunity to further his knowledge and by reading and experience has become a well informed man. At the age of sixteen he began providing for his own support by working as a farm hand for an uncle at a wage of thirteen dollars per month through the summer seasons, while in the winter months he was paid but eight dollars. Five years were spent in that way, after which he removed to Columbus in 1896 and worked at the carpenter's trade until May 9, 1898, when he enlisted for two years' service in the Spanish-American war as a member of Company K, First Regiment of Nebraska Volunteers. With his command he went to the Philippines and took part in the skirmish near Malate on the 5th of August, 1898, and in the battle of Manila on the 13th of the same month. He also served in the Second Philippine Islands Expedition, and becoming ill with typhoid fever, was in the hospital from the 14th of October to the 12th of December, 1898, after which he was honorably discharged because of disability.

  On the 1st of March, 1899, Mr. Brock returned to Columbus, where he was employed in various ways for four years. In company with Fred Ernst he then purchased the livery business of Mr. Randall and has since been active along that line. They have two good buildings one hundred and thirty-two by one hundred



and thirty-two feet, keep nineteen head of horses, six top buggies, two carriages and a railway hack. They are accorded a liberal patronage, the public appreciating their reliable business methods and earnest efforts to please.

  On the 28th of February, 1901, Mr. Brock was united in marriage to Miss Kate Oldigs, who was born in Oldenburg, Germany, February 4, 1879. To them have been born three children: Lucile and Elmer, who are attending school; and Irene.

  Fraternally Mr. Brock is identified with the Sons of Herman, the Highlanders and Camp No. 4 of the Spanish War Veterans, while his religious faith is indicated in his membership in the German Methodist church, in which he is serving as a trustee. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and is now serving as a member of the city council of Columbus. In office he is making a creditable record, for he closely studies every question of importance that comes before the council and gives his support wherever he believes that the best interests of the city are involved. In business circles he is recognized as a self-made man, for from the age of sixteen years he has been dependent upon his own resources, depending entirely upon industry and perseverance to win advancement.


  August Wagner, practicing at the bar of Columbus as the junior partner in the firm of Albert & Wagner, has gained that distinction which follows thorough preparation, devotion to the interests of clients and a close conformity to the highest professional standards. He was born on a farm in Cuming county, Nebraska, October 1, 1876. His father, John Wagner, was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1838, and in that country wedded Kunie Irlbach, who was also born there. In 1867 they sailed for the new world and became residents of Cuming county. Nebraska, where they resided for twenty-three years, or until 1890, when they established their home at Columbus. The father served as assessor of Cuming county for more than twenty years, a fact which indicates his thorough capability and impartiality in the discharge of his duties. He was also a director of the school board and was regarded as one of the most valued citizens of that district. He died in the year 1913.

  August Wagner was a youth of fourteen when the family came to Columbus, which gave him the opportunity of continuing his education in the high school of Columbus, from which in due time he was graduated. His decision concerning a life work was manifest when he entered the law department of the University of Nebraska, in which he won his LL. B. degree upon graduation with the class of 1900. He next entered the law office of A. M. Post, with whom he was associated until February, 1905, at which date he entered into his present partnership relations, becoming the junior member of the firm of Albert & Wagner. He is an able lawyer who carefully prepares his cases and is ready to meet any emergency. In the presentation of a cause his arguments are strong and he presents point after point in logical sequence so that all may follow the clear course of his reasoning to its ultimate conclusion.

  There is an interesting military chapter in the life record of Mr. Wagner, who



served as captain of Company K, of the First Nebraska National Guard for four years at Columbus, and at the time of the Spanish-American war enlisted as a private continuing in the service from the 27th of April, 1898, to the 23d of August, 1899. All that time he was in the Philippines and he participated in the engagements at Pasay, August 5, 1898; capture of Manila, August 13; aided in suppressing the Philippino insurrection resulting in the battle of Manila, February 4th and 5th, 1899; the battle of Mariquina, February 17, 1899; San Mateo River, on the 22d of February; Mariquina on the 6th of March; San Francisco Del Monte, March 25; Meycanayan, March 26; Marillao, March 27; near Marillao, March 29; Guinquinto, March 30; and the capture of Malolos on the 31st of March, 1899. At the last named place he was stricken with typhoid fever, was sent to Manila and later invalided home. He belongs to the United Spanish War Veterans Association and was department commander of Nebraska from 1912 to 1913.

  On the 19th of July, 1905, in Columbus, Mr. Wagner was married to Miss Pearl Elias, a daughter of Charles F. Elias, of this city, and their union has been blessed with a son and two daughters, Milton, Pearl E. and Pauline Fredrika.

  Mr. Wagner gives his political allegiance to the democratic party and for two years filled the office of justice of the peace, while since 1902 he has been United States referee in bankruptcy. He is well known as a prominent attorney, while his military service is indicative of the spirit of loyalty which he manifests in all matters vital to citizenship.


  William P. Braun, a general merchant of Humphrey, was born in Grand Prairie township, Platte county, Nebraska, November 9, 1881, a son of John and Mary (Wieser) Braun, natives of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and of Austria respectively. The father followed both farming and merchandising in Wisconsin until 1871, when he came to Nebraska, settling in Grand Prairie township, Platte county, where he secured a homestead and afterward obtained a timber claim. His tracts were just as they came from the hand of nature, but he resolutely undertook the task of transforming the wild land into productive fields and brought about excellent results. He has since operated his farm with good success and he has also conducted a flourishing nursery business for the past fifteen years, his prosperity and advancement being the direct result of his energy, perseverance and determination. He is now sixty-nine years of age, while his wife has reached the age of sixty-eight.

  William P. Braun was reared and educated in Grand Prairie township, but his school privileges were limited as his textbooks were put aside when he was but twelve years of age. From that time forward he depended upon his own resources for a living, working on a farm for his father and others until the age of twenty-two. He then rented land, which he cultivated for two years, when he retired from agricultural pursuits and removed to Humphrey. During the succeeding six months he was employed in a general store and at the end of that time engaged in the draying business for a year. Still later he established a restaurant, which he conducted for six months and then sold, after which he operated a delivery busi-



ness for the stores for six months. On disposing of his interests of that character he purchased another restaurant, which he managed for six months, and then entered the employ of Diers Brothers, general merchants, with whom he remained for five years. In October, 1914, he joined Joseph Brockhaus in the establishment of a general store, which they conducted under the firm style of Braun & Brockhaus until Mr. Braun purchased his partner's interest and has since been alone. He carries a large stock of goods, for which he finds a ready sale, the public according him both patronage and respect because of his honorable business methods. He also operates a cream station, buying cream, butter and eggs.

  On the 18th of February, 1903, Mr. Braun was joined in wedlock to Miss Barbara German, a daughter of Frank and Elizabeth German, natives of Peoria, Illinois. The father was a farmer by occupation and operated land in Illinois until 1885, when he came to Platte county and again purchased land, which he has since owned and cultivated, his place being located in Grand Prairie township. Mr. and Mrs. Braun have become the parents of seven children, namely: Christina, Raymond, Leona, Lucille, Stella, Laverna and William.

  The parents are members of the Catholic church and Mr. Braun belongs to the Catholic Order of Foresters and to the Knights of Columbus. His political indorsement is given the democratic party, but he has neither the time nor the inclination to seek office, preferring to concentrate his efforts upon his business affairs, which are bringing him a gratifying measure of success.


  John Graf, Sr., who has been a representative resident of Columbus for almost four decades, has held the office of county clerk since 1904, and in that connection has made a most creditable and highly commendable record. His birth occurred in Germany on the 4th of September, 1850, his parents being John and Theresa (Heckli) Graf, who emigrated to the United States in 1854, spending the remainder of their lives in Wisconsin. The father passed away in 1889, while the mother was called to her final rest in 1896.

  John Graf, whose name introduces this review, was but four years of age when brought by his parents to the new world and acquired his early education in the public schools of Sauk City, Wisconsin, while subsequently he pursued a normal-school course at Platteville, that state. He then followed the profession of teaching in Wisconsin for a period of five years, or until 1874, and during the following three years held a position in a store at Sauk City. In 1876 he came to Columbus, Nebraska, and after teaching school in this county for one term embarked in business at Columbus, being thus successfully engaged for seven years. On the expiration of that period, in 1884, he became deputy county clerk of Platte county, acting in that capacity until 1888. He was then again engaged in business at Columbus for four years and in 1897 was chosen deputy county clerk. He became county clerk in 1904, in which office he has served continuously since in a most satisfactory and commendable manner.

  On the 11th of July, 1882, in Columbus, Nebraska, Mr. Graf was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Bader, by whom he has two sons, namely: John T., who




was born in 1884; and Edward F., whose birth occurred in 1890. Both are residents of Columbus. Mr. Graf gives his political allegiance to the democracy and fraternally is identified with the Sons of Herman, the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Knights of America. His religious faith is that of the Catholic church. During the long period of his residence in Columbus he has gained many friends, having won the warm regard of all with whom he has been associated.


  Grover Long, a successful young attorney of Columbus, has here practiced his profession as junior member of the law firm of Garlow & Long since July, 1910. His birth occurred at Ord, Valley county, Nebraska, on the 4th of November, 1887, his parents being William D. and Phoebe (Burnham) Long, the former a native of Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, and the latter of Berrien county, Michigan. Their marriage was celebrated in St. Paul, Howard county, Nebraska, and both are still living. In 1861 William D. Long offered his services to the Union, joining the Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry and remaining with that command until wounded in an engagement at Florida, Missouri, in 1862.

  Grover Long completed a high-school course in his native town by graduation in 1904 and six years later received the degree of LL. B. from the College of Law of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. In July, 1910, he came to Columbus and formed a partnership with C. J. Garlow, a distinguished attorney of the city, in association with whom he has since practiced as a member of the firm of Garlow & Long. An excellent presence, an earnest, dignified manner, marked strength of character, a thorough grasp of the law, and the ability accurately to apply its principles are factors in his effectiveness as an advocate. He is also identified with business interests as vice president of the S. & G. Company, an advertising concern.

  On the 10th of October, 1912, in Columbus, Mr. Long was united in marriage to Miss Gwendolyn Garlow, a daughter of his partner, C. J. Garlow. He gives his political allegiance to the democracy, is a Chapter Mason and also belongs to the Sons of Herman. He is deservedly popular in both social and professional circles, being widely recognized as a young man of ability, promise and worth.


  In pioneer times the Loseke family was founded in Platte county and since that day representatives of the family have taken an active and helpful part in promoting the material development and progress of this section of the state. The work instituted by their grandfather and carried on by their father is now continued by Edward G. and E. Gerhard Loseke, who are living on section 11, Bismark township, where they own and cultivate four hundred acres of land. They are sons of Gerhard Loseke, mentioned elsewhere in this volume, and both were born upon the old homestead farm where they now reside, the former on the 23d of



December, 1881, and the latter on the 4th of March, 1886. They were reared in the usual manner of farm lads, attending the public schools in the acquirement of their education and spending the vacation periods in work in the fields. They early became familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops and as the years have gone on they have continued to follow general agricultural pursuits. They have a well developed and highly improved property comprising four hundred acres of land which was given to them by their father, and they have brought their fields to a high state of cultivation.

  On the 10th of November, 1909, Edward G. Loseke was united in marriage to Miss Emma C. Luers, a native of Platte county, and a daughter of Henry Luers, who is mentioned elsewhere in this volume. They have become the parents of three children: Lucile E., Ellen C. and Elaine L.  E. Gerhard Loseke was married on the 30th of March, 1910, to Miss Alma E. Huntemann, also a native of Platte county and a daughter of Henry Huntemann, who follows farming in Sherman township. Their children are also three in number: Raymond J., Estella L. and Lorine M. The two families attend and hold membership in the Lutheran church. They have a wide acquaintance in the county, where they have always lived, and their circle of friends is almost coextensive with the circle of their acquaintances.


  The history of the Diers family is unique in that there are eight brothers and sisters, all of whom are connected with the general mercantile interests as the owner of nine different stores in Nebraska. Louis D. Diers is active in the management of the one at Humphrey and his interests there constitute one of the leading mercantile concerns of Platte county. The spirit of enterprise and progress actuate him in the control of the business and, moreover, his efforts at all times measure up to the highest standards of commercial ethics.

  Louis D. Diers was born in Clayton county, Iowa, November 9, 1869, a son of Frederick and Catherine (Stuffer) Diers, natives of Oldenburg, Germany. Coming to America in 1852, they settled in Clayton county, where the father purchased land on the Turkey river. Immediately he began the development and improvement of a farm, which he continued to operate with success until 1895. He brought his fields to a high state of cultivation and so directed his efforts that substantial results rewarded him. He is now living retired, making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Henry Tangeman, in Gretna, Nebraska. His wife passed away December 25, 1913, and her death was the occasion of deep regret to her husband, her children and her many friends. The sons and daughters in this family are John, Henry, Herman, Fred, Anna, William, Louis and Caroline.

  As previously stated, all eight are connected in the ownership of a chain of nine stores situated at various points in Nebraska and conducted under the firm styles of Diers Brothers and of Diers Brothers & Company. They became factors in the business life of Humphrey when in 1902 they purchased the P. H. Bender store. They have since erected two modern brick buildings, two stories in height, one of which is occupied by the postoffice and the other utilized for the conduct of their



mercantile interests. The Diers establishment is one of the finest stores in the county equipped after the fashion of city establishments and carrying a very extensive stock, representing the latest goods of domestic and foreign manufacture. Louis D. Diers is in charge of this store and he possesses the splendid business qualification characteristic of the family. He readily discriminates between the essential and the nonessential and while his career has never been characterized by a vaulting ambition, he has not hesitated to venture where favoring opportunity has led the way. In connection with his other interests he is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company of Humphrey.

  On the 14th of March, 1891, Mr. Diers was united in marriage to Miss Julia Russell, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Russell. The father, a farmer by occupation, removed to Clayton county, Iowa, at an early period in the development of that district and there engaged in farming until 1895, but is now making his home with Mr. and Mrs. Diers at the age of eighty-two years, his wife having passed away in 1910, when eighty-one years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Diers have but one child, Vera Mae, aged seventeen years.

  The family are very prominent socially and the hospitality of their home is greatly enjoyed by their many friends. They are members of and support the German Lutheran church and Mr. Diers also belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp and to the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In politics he is independent but is never remiss in the duties of citizenship and his efforts have been an important element in advancing public progress. He served for six years as a member of the town council, was also on the school board for six years and for a number of years has been treasurer of the fire department. He is fortunate in that he possesses the character and ability that inspire confidence in others, and the simple weight of his character and ability have carried him into important business and public relations.


  John Moffett is serving for the sixth year as mayor of Platte Center after having filled other positions of public trust and responsibility. He has ever clearly recognized the duties and obligations as well as the privileges of citizenship and in his present position has used his official prerogatives to further many plans and measures for the general good. At the same time he is widely known as a successful business man, being active in the field of real estate and insurance. He was born in Williamstown, New Jersey, August 11, 1858, a son of Charles R. and Anna Marie (Downs) Moffett. Of their three children John and a sister, Miss Grace Moffett, are yet living. The family ancestry can be traced back directly, through eleven generations, to the Jennens family of England. Six generations have been residents in New Jersey, where records show that the family was living in 1728, John Moffett has copies of family and other records back through seven generations to 1667, among which are wills wherein were willed away negro boys, great coats, best hats, etc., and provincial and proclamation money prior and subsequent to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

  John Moffett acquired a common-school education and in the year 1877 became a resident of Platte county, Nebraska, establishing his home at Columbus. After a



short time, however, he went to Fremont, Nebraska, where he remained for a year as manager of the railroad eating house, and from 1881 until 1884 he was employed at Albion, Nebraska. In the latter year he came to Platte Center, where he turned his attention to the lumber trade, in which he was engaged until 1888, when he made his initial step in the real-estate and insurance field. He largely handles property in Boone, Nance and Platte counties and has negotiated many important realty transfers. He also represents five of the old line insurance companies and that branch of his business is likewise profitable. At the present time he is the second oldest real-estate dealer in Platte county. In addition to his other interests he is a large stockholder and the president of the Farmers State Bank of Platte Center and thus figures prominently in financial circles. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company and owns a large amount of land in Platte county.

  In 1881 Mr. Moffett was united in marriage at Columbus to Miss Nellie Gleason, a daughter of John Gleason, who was one of the old pioneer residents of this part of the state. In his political views Mr. Moffett is a stalwart republican and for one term served as supervisor when the county was first organized into districts. In 1907 he was a candidate for county judge but was defeated by a few votes. For six successive years he has been mayor of Platte Center and is the present incumbent in that office, making an excellent record by the prompt and able manner in which he discharges his duties, carefully safeguarding the welfare of the public. For eight or nine years he has been secretary of the school board and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. His religious faith is that of the Catholic church and he belongs to the Knights of Columbus lodge at Columbus. In manner he is quiet and unassuming, but sterling personal worth has brought him to the front. Men have come to know that he can be depended upon, that what he promises he will do and that his word is as good as any bond solemnized by signature or seal. He is well liked and his standing in the community is high.


  John Henry Wurdeman, a retired farmer living on section 9, Sherman township, is one of the veterans of the Civil war who proudly wears the little bronze button that proclaims him a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. Throughout his entire life he has manifested the same spirit of loyalty to his country which he displayed when he followed the nation's starry banner upon the battlefields of the south. At the same time he has been a most enterprising and progressive business man, accomplishing results which show his forcefulness, resourcefulness, industry, and capability. He was born in Ahlhorn, Oldenburg, Germany, February 12, 1838, and has therefore passed the seventy-seventh milestone on life's journey. His father, Diedrich Wurdeman, was a farmer of Germany and came to the United States in 1871, in which year he homesteaded in Sherman township, Platte county, but did not get the deed to the land, for he died in 1872, at the home of his son, John H. He was married three times and John Henry Wurdeman was one of the two children born of the first marriage. His religious faith was that of the Lutheran church.




  Mr. Wurdeman, whose name introduces this review, attended school in Germany in the village in which he lived and at fourteen years of age began work as a farm hand. In 1860 he came to the United States and for six months worked as a farm hand at a wage of ten dollars per month, at South Grove, De Kalb county, Illinois. He then went to Ogle county, Illinois, where he received fourteen dollars per month for his services, but at the time of the Civil war he put aside all business and personal considerations and, responding to the call of his adopted country, enlisted on the 28th of August, 1861, as a member of Company D, Thirty-ninth Illinois Infantry, joining the command at Lindenwood, Illinois. He entered the service as a private and was promoted to the rank of corporal. He veteranized on the 5th of September, 1864, and on the 13th of October of the same year was wounded, after which he carried the bullet in his left cheek until January 21, 1865. His first injury was sustained at Darbytown Crossroads, Virginia, and on the 2d of April, 1865, he was wounded by grape shot in the right leg, at Fort Gregg, Virginia. Company D was organized at Rochelle, Illinois, and was among the first to be assigned for active duty. The regiment was quartered in the old Republican Wigwam on Market street in Chicago, and the company was the first to meet the advance force of the enemy under General Stonewall Jackson, at Bath, Virginia, on the 3d of June, 1862, entering upon the engagement without preliminary skirmish tactics. They were again and again upon the firing line, displaying a spirit of courage and nobility, and at the expiration of their three years' term, three-fourths of the company reenlisted as veterans at Hilton Head, South Carolina. On being first mustered in, the company left Chicago, went to St. Louis and thence proceeded to Hagerstown, Maryland, where they were given Springfield rifles and were engaged in doing guard duty on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. They participated in the battle of Winchester on the 23d of March, 1862, against Jackson, and from that time on were again and again on active duty on the firing line. Mr. Wurdeman made a most creditable military record as a brave and loyal soldier and has every reason to be proud of the reputation won by his command.

  In 1866 he went to Dodge county, Wisconsin, where he engaged in clerking in a store. While residing there he was married and in March, 1869, he removed to Platte county, which was then a western frontier district. There was no bridge over the Missouri river at Omaha and the fare from Omaha to Columbus was nine dollars and sixty cents. Mr. Wurdeman secured a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Sherman township, on which was a primitive house, half sod and half dugout. He was among the first settlers to penetrate into this region and there was little evidence of development and improvement. During his first winter he built a log cabin twelve by eighteen feet, hewing the logs on his own claim, and during the first three years he used an ox team for plowing. As time passed on his labors wrought a marked transformation in the claim, which he converted from raw prairie into richly cultivated and productive fields. Starting in with one hundred and sixty acres, he added to his holdings from time to time as opportunity offered and his financial resources increased. He had eighty acres on section 8, four hundred and eighty acres on section 9, two hundred and eighty acres on section 10, forty acres on section 15 and two hundred and forty acres on section 16, Sherman township, together with three hundred and twenty acres in Stanton county, Nebraska, but has given all of this land to his children. The various tracts were fine farming. land, the soil being naturally rich and productive, and in addition



to cultivating his fields, Mr. Wurdeman engaged extensively in stock-raising and did much to improve the grade of stock raised in the county. He was also one of the organizers of the Maple Valley State Bank at Leigh, Nebraska, and when it was sold to the First National he became vice president of the latter. He has always been a most active and progressive man, ready to meet any emergency and carrying forward to successful completion whatever he has undertaken. His well directed efforts have found visible evidence in his various farm properties and his indefatigable industry made him one of the most substantial residents of the county.

  On the 4th of February, 1866, at Mayville, Wisconsin, Mr. Wurdeman was united in marriage to Miss Catharina Margaretha Wilke, a native of Oldenburg, Germany, born February 2, 1839, and a daughter of John Wilke, who was a landowner and agriculturist of that country. Mr. and Mrs. Wurdeman are the parents of six children, as follows: Rudolph H., a sketch of whom appears on another page of this work; Louise, the wife of John Ahrens, who is also represented on another page of this volume; Charles, an architect of Columbus; Frank, a biography of whom appears on another page; Edward, the vice president of the First National Bank of Columbus; and Alma, the wife of Fred Feye, a sketch of whom is given on another page of this work.

  After a happy married life of almost fifty years Mrs. Wurdeman passed away October 17, 1915, loved and respected by all who knew her. She was an earnest Christian and was always ready and willing to aid those in sickness or distress.

  Mr. Wurdeman was a member of the Grand Army post at Creston until it was discontinued and during his residence in Columbus held membership with the post there. He retired to Columbus in 1891, and tried living in town in a modern residence, but preferring rural life, he returned to the farm and now makes his home on section 9, Sherman township. He has assisted in furthering every improvement of the township and he has served as a member of the county board of supervisors. He belongs to the German Lutheran church and his entire life has been guided by high and honorable principles, making him a man worthy of the esteem and regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact. His life has indeed been well spent and furnishes an example that the youth of the present generation may well follow, for his record proves that success and an honored name may be won simultaneously.


  Anders Christian Anderson, a florist of Columbus and a wholesale dealer in seeds, has through a thorough acquaintance with his business, through enterprising methods and reliable dealing built up a trade which is now extensive and gratifying, returning to him a good annual income. Mr. Anderson is of foreign birth although he has been a resident of the new world from early boyhood. A native of Denmark, he was born at Vordingborg, February 14, 1860, his parents being Soren and Marie (Hanson) Anderson. The father, who was a farmer by occupation, left Denmark in 1867, accompanied by his family and established his home in the state of New York, where he remained for a year. He then removed to Wisconsin,



where he engaged in carpentering and in farming, living in that state until 1876, when he came to Creston, Platte county, Nebraska, and secured a claim, devoting considerable time and attention to the development of his land. He afterward removed to Kansas, where he is still living while his wife died in 1913.

  Anders C. Anderson, the eldest in a family of six children, assisted his father in the farm work from his boyhood days, but in 1890, when about thirty years of age, resolved to engage in business on his own account and did this by establishing a mail order seed business at Creston. In 1900 he removed to Columbus, where he established greenhouses, and he has since been one of the prominent florists and wholesale dealers in seeds in this part of the country. He has at present fifteen thousand square feet under glass and his property covers an entire city block. He sends out catalogues every spring, giving a full list of the seeds and plants which he handles, more than six thousand of these catalogues being mailed out in 1915 through territory including every state in the Union. He now makes extensive shipments and has won a well earned reputation for reliability and for the excellence of the product which he handles. He also grows all kinds of shrubs and flowering plants and as a florist is doing a good business, finding a ready sale for the product of his greenhouses.

  On the 12th of September, 1891, at Creston, Nebraska, Mr. Anderson was united in marriage to Miss Ida Friedrich, a daughter of Carl August Friedrich. now deceased. Her father, who was a native of Saxony, Germany, was one of the oldtime residents of Creston. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have become the parents of five children, Frieda, Alfred, Oscar, Herbert and Ronald.

  In his political views Mr. Anderson is a democrat and for four years filled the office of town clerk of Creston. He belongs to the Congregational church and is interested in all matters pertaining to the material and moral progress of the community. His home is a large modern brick residence, tastefully and attractively furnished, and its warm-hearted hospitality is one of its most pleasing features. His property holdings are the visible evidence of his life of well directed thrift and enterprise, resulting in the attainment of well merited success.


  Prominent among the enterprising, energetic and progressive citizens of Platte county is John William Bender, a well known capitalist who is proprietor of the Poland China Breeding Farm of Humphrey township. He has been actively connected with public affairs, at one time serving as a member of the state legislature, and he has done much to mold public thought and action in his community. Never neglectful of opportunity, he has utilized every advantage to further individual success and the public welfare and his course, at all times honorable and upright, has won for him high regard.

  Mr. Bender was born in Henry, Marshall county, Illinois, May 11, 1858, a son of Peter and Catharine (Mallmann) Bender, of whom mention is made on another page of this volume. His youthful days were spent in his parents' home and to his father he gave the benefit of his services until he reached the age of twenty-six years save for the period when he was acquiring his education as a



pupil in the public schools of Henry, Illinois. After attaining his majority he married and for one year rented land from his father in Marshall county, Illinois.

  In 1885, however, Mr. Bender arrived in Platte county, Nebraska, taking up his abode in Humphrey township on land which his father owned. Later he received eighty acres as a gift from his father, the place being located on section 22. Thereon he resided for a quarter of a century and to his original tract he added from time to time as his financial resources increased until he became one of the extensive landowners of the county, his possessions aggregating nine hundred acres of well improved land. He has one hundred acres in his home place and this he personally cultivates, while the remainder of his land is being operated by his sons. He continued to reside there until the spring of 1910, when he removed to Humphrey, since which time he has occupied a home that stands in the midst of five acres of ground within the corporate limits of the town. Of his nine hundred acres he has five hundred and eighty acres in Platte county and the remainder in Boone county, Nebraska. While upon his farm he bred and raised full blooded Poland China hogs and his old homestead is known as the Poland China Breeding Farm. It is still the property of Mr. Bender but is now being conducted by his son Simon. Mr. Bender served as administrator of his father's estate and is widely recognized as a resourceful, capable business man, ready to meet any emergency and quickly recognizing at all times the possibilities and opportunities which continually arise in the business world. He helped to organize the First National Bank of Humphrey and from the beginning has served as its vice president. He owns valuable property in the town and in all of his business affairs has readily discriminated between the essential and the non-essential, utilizing the former quickly and effectively in the attainment of success.

  On the 19th of February, 1884, Mr. Bender was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Wunder, a daughter of Simon and Paulina (Yocco) Wunder, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father emigrated to the United States in 1856 and located in Marshall county, Illinois, where he purchased land and became a well-to-do agriculturist, passing away on his farm in that county. His widow later took up her abode in Henry, Illinois, where her demise occurred. To Mr. and Mrs. Bender have been born the following children: Paulina Eva, whose birth occurred May 28, 1885, and who gave her hand in marriage to Charles P. Pfeifer, the assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Humphrey, by whom she now has four children -- Jerome W., Angela Marie, Elmer and Violet; Simon Peter, who was born October 2, 1887, lives on the home farm in Humphrey township and married Miss Sabina Abler, by whom he had two children, Eugene (deceased) and Mildren Marie; Catharine Cecelia, who was born March 2, 1890, and became the wife of James Caldwell, of Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, who cultivates her father's half section in Boone county and by whom she has one child, Esther Marie; John Frederick, who was born April 29, 1892, and is associated in farming with his brother Simon; Lewis Stephen, whose birth occurred July 30, 1894; and Jerome William, born October 18, 1896. The two last named are still under the parental roof.

  Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Bender has been a stalwart democrat. He and all of his family are members of St. Francis Catholic church of Humphrey and he belongs to St. Joseph's Men's Society of that church. His son Simon is a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters of Humphrey. John



W. Bender has also been a very prominent figure in political circles and has again and again been called to public office. For two years he served as road supervisor, for five years as assessor of Humphrey township, for four years as township treasurer and is now serving for the sixth year as justice of the peace and for the third year as police judge. He has been a member of the democratic central committee for eight years and is the present incumbent in that office. He has twice been elected to the state legislature -- first in 1903 to fill out the unexpired term of D. A. Becher, while in 1904 he was elected for the full term of two years, continuing a member through 1905 and 1906. His public record is one which reflects credit and honor upon him and upon the community which has called him to office. He is ever loyal to the state and her best interests and at all times champions those measures which are a matter of civic virtue and civic pride.


  As lawyer and lawmaker, I. L. Albert has left the impress of his individuality upon the history of the state and his name is associated with various progressive measures which have had to do with advancing public standards. He is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred in Clearfield county, December 28, 1856, his parents being Daniel and Barbara (Kephart) Albert, who were also natives of Clearfield county. The family comes of Saxon German ancestry but in both the paternal and maternal lines the ancestors of I. L. Albert were represented in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war. On the maternal side he comes of a family of clergymen.

  In the year 1876 Judge Albert left his native state and took up his home in Iowa. He graduated from Leander Clark College at Toledo, Iowa, in 1884, but had pursued the study of law during his college course, so that he was admitted to practice in 1881, three years from his graduation. He moved to Albion, Nebraska, in 1887, where he soon built up a large practice. In 1890 he located in Columbus, where he has since resided. He was county attorney of Platte county from January, 1891, until January, 1893. He became judge of the sixth judicial district of the state by popular election in 1898 and was made a member of the supreme court commission, serving in that capacity from March, 1901, until March, 1907. His fellow townsmen were still loath to dispense with his public service and again he was called to office, being elected a member of the Nebraska senate in 1911. He is the author of the Nebraska bank guarantee law and what is known as the Albert law for the suppression of houses of prostitution. His name is also connected with other important legislative measures which have found their way to the statute books of the state during the last four years.

  His former wife, Mary, was a daughter of Robert and Eliza Meldrum, a native of Canada, and the mother of four of his children: Daniel, deceased; Robert M.; Frederick C.; and Mary M. She died in 1899. Later he married Miss Jean B. Powley, also a native of Canada and a daughter of John Powley. The children of this union are Ruth J., Warren G. and I. L., Jr. The religious faith of the family is that of the Methodist church.

  Judge Albert has affiliated with the democratic party for a quarter of a century



but is strongly inclined to the Hamiltonian theory of government. He makes a close and discriminating study of all questions which come up for settlement regarding community, state or national affairs, and he does not hesitate to express his firm convictions upon any significant and vital question. He is widely known as a strong jury lawyer, very successful in trying cases before the court, where his resourcefulness and logic constitute the potent forces which have won him a place at the bar.

  Judge Albert comes from a family of scholars. His ability and brilliancy gave him a secure place in the foremost ranks of the legal profession of Nebraska. Many of his opinions while he served on the supreme court commission of Nebraska were chosen by compilers of the leading cases in the United States and may be found in various reports containing select cases. His opinions are known for their profound logic and clearness. His pleadings briefs and opinions are clean cut and to the point.

  In the trial of a case Judge Albert has but one theory, which is always based upon the underlying principle of law. He never changes his theory until the facts are changed. In the light of his remarkable success as a trial lawyer it is evident that he has a keen conception of the law. His advice to lawyers is to ascertain the equities of their clients and they will have little trouble to support their cases with authorities.

  Clever, witty, energetic, courageous and generous to a fault, Judge Albert is a charming companion. His word is good with his associates, his clients and the courts. He is a philosopher of the old school. He views and judges all things from the basis of truth. When he ventures an opinion on any subject, one feels and knows that his judgment is free from bias and prejudice. It is a matter of common knowledge among all who know him that he deals fairly and impartially between men.

  Judge Albert is a friend in the best and noblest sense of the word. With him friendship means more than lip service. He will make personal sacrifices to aid his friends, many of whom have been placed under grateful and lasting obligations to him. He is a deep thinker, and a student of philosophy, morality and religion. He commands respect for his views on these subjects. He is a strong believer in the Christian faith. His true character is reflected in his home life, where he is a loved and respected husband and parent.


  Nicholas Blaser is now living retired after an active business career devoted to farming and contracting. His rest is well merited, being the reward of persistent, earnest labor, and his life record shows what may be accomplished through close application and indefatigable effort. A native of Switzerland, he was born in Canton Bern, in March, 1841, and there served as a soldier in the Swiss army for four years, being promoted to one of the officers of his company. When the term of his military service had expired he made a tour of France, England and Germany, but remained in Switzerland until after his marriage, when he came with his wife to the new world in 1867 and settled in Platte county, Nebraska. After about six



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© 1997, 1998 Ted & Carole Miller